ETHERLive delivers real-time price and volume data across 16+ exchanges to users in a clear and easy-to-understand package. Users can get up-to-the-second updates for each exchange/currency pair, as well as aggregated market averages for each exchange, currency, and the market as a whole. It also provides a global converted average of all the currency pairs monitored by ETHNews, converted to USD.


24hr ---

The Basics

Learn the basics of Ethereum and various cryptocurrency technologies

Learn More

What is Ethereum?

Understand the underlying principles of the Ethereum Platform

Learn More

The Blockchain

Discover the revolutionizing technology known as the blockchain

Learn More

Press Release

Submit a press release for consideration on ETHNews

Submit Press

Story / Dapp

Submit a story or DAPP to be considered for publication on ETHNews.

Submit Story


Submit "Ethereum Explainer" content for consideration to be featured on ETHNews

Submit Topic
ETHNews Logo
Ether Price Analysis
Contact Us

Kenya Electoral Commission Eyes Blockchain Tech




Blockchain technology’s promise of greater transparency may help curb future post-election violence.

On January 1, 2008, rioters in the Kenyan city of Eldoret set fire to a church. Fifty people who were hiding inside never made it out. They were just a fraction of the hundreds who died because of a rigged election.

Violence is a common side effect of Kenyan presidential elections these days. While it would be easy to dismiss it as something endemic to the political process in Africa, Kenya's history is unique. In 2002, Mwai Kibaki was swept into office on an anti-corruption platform. That didn't turn out as promised. (For an excellent account of the era, read Michela Wrong's "It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower.")

By the end of Kibaki's first term, voters were agitated. They rushed to the polls. That's when things got…irregular. Result announcements were delayed, polling stations reported strange and even impossible figures, and the national numbers didn't match up with local tallies. In the end, Kibaki held on to power.

According to Human Rights Watch, "The rigging of the 2007 presidential election was the final betrayal of [Kibaki's] agenda for change."

It summarized the crisis a few months later:

"Reaction across the country was swift and violent. Protests erupted even before the announcement of the presidential result on December 30, as delays and irregularities in the count sparked rumors of rigging. The government banned public gatherings and the police confronted street protests with excessive force, killing and wounding hundreds of peaceful demonstrators with live ammunition. Meanwhile, some people took advantage of the lack of law and order to loot, rape, and riot."

Successive elections have brought with them the fear of renewed violence, with any gaps in information feeding into a potentially dangerous narrative: The government is hiding something.

Fortunately, Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conducts a post-election review to determine what could be done better next time. Unfortunately, such a review is necessary because the Kenya Supreme Court cancelled the results of the 2017 presidential election, citing voting irregularities attributable to the IEBC, which was founded in 2011 to prevent exactly these types of problems.

Eager – or at least appearing to be eager – to do better the next time, the IEBC is now floating the idea of blockchain technology.

In "The Commission's Update on Activities and Electoral Reform Agenda," dated August 15 (but, fittingly, published five days later, on August 20), the IEBC lays out 14 priority areas for electoral legal reform. One of those areas is the "adoption of blockchain technology/distributed ledgers to enable presidential candidates securely access results real-time, enhancing transparency and alleviating suspicion/perceptions of opacity [sic]."

These focus areas came out of a July workshop, and the commission takes care to note that the reforms are only in the "preliminary stage." Nonetheless, blockchain technology may be part of the answer to Kenya's election woes. While it can't fix every conceivable problem (e.g., incorrect data being inputted in the first place), it would be a commendable step toward greater transparency in a country that craves it. It might even save some lives.

Jeff Benson

Jeff Benson is Managing Editor of ETHNews. He's worked as a writer and editor everywhere from Sudan to Reno. He holds a bachelor's in politics from Willamette University and a master's in nationalism studies from University of Edinburgh. When he's not in the newsroom, he trots the globe and writes about it. He holds a bit of value in ETH.

ETHNews is committed to its Editorial Policy

Like what you read? Follow us on Twitter @ETHNews_ to receive the latest Kenya, Blockchain voting or other Ethereum world news.